The Pittston Area Golf Team from left to right, kneeling, Lauren Robbins, Braulio Garcia, John Meck, Austin Quinn, McKenzie Evanusa, Matt Taylor, David Zydho, and Cristian Hansen; standing, Angelo Guarglia, Calvin O’Boyle, Todd Mitchell, Connor Mitchell, Brandon Matthews, Ryan Tracy, Matt Pierantoni, Mariah Mattoli, and Coach Len Benfanti. Absent, Matt Carroll and Chris Lynch.
Brandon Matthews may be one of the most talked about athletes in the area. However, Pittston Area has more than one solid player on its 2011 golf squad.
Veteran Head Coach Len Benfante is excited about his whole team this year, which includes his top five players from 2010.
Matthews and juniors Ryan Tracy, Matt Carroll, C.J. Lynch and Calvin O’Boyle all enjoyed success last year for the Patriots and all will have a chance to do so this season as well.
Matthews has a long list of accolades. Perhaps the best of all is winning the 2010 PIAA State Championship as a junior. He returns for his senior year and should be the area’s top player.
He will also look to go 4-for-4 at the annual Wyoming Valley Conference Tom Tryba Preseason Tournament. With his Tryba win last season, he became the only player in the tournament’s history to win the title three times.
In addition to Matthews, the Patriots also return another very good player Tracy. He was a big part of the Patriots success last year and has played all summer to prepare for this season. He also competed in last year’s District II Championship tournament, finishing in the top half by carding an 88.
Not far behind Tracy in the final results of last year’s district tournament was Carroll. He finished just one stroke behind Tracy with an 89.
Rounding out the top five for Pittston Area is Lynch and O’Boyle. Both players are experienced in Wyoming Valley Conference matches and should contribute heavily this season.
Although the top five is all but set in stone, the Patriots still need a sixth golfer to start in their matches. The competition for the sixth spot consists of Matt Pierantoni (junior) and Todd Mitchell (senior).
Another player Benfante believes has a chance to contribute this season is newcomer Angelo Guariglia.
The Patriots will be a heavy favorite in their division. However, the league is a different story. They will go to battle with Holy Redeemer for the league title. Benfante admits it won’t be an easy task.
“The league favorite I believe is Holy Redeemer,” Benfante said. “With that being said, I think we should win our division.”
Although he believes they will win the division this season, he doesn’t think it will be easy.
“We have all of our players coming back and we won the division last season,” Benfante said. “But, I don’t think we’re going to be able to walk through it. It wouldn’t surprise me if we dropped an away match to Coughlin or Tunkhannock at Tunkhannock.”
If the Patriots win their division they will most likely meet the Royals in the playoffs.
“For the league title, I’m going to say Redeemer is the favorite,” Benfante said. “Until we beat them, people can say all they want about how we have Brandon (Matthews). We didn’t beat them last year and we had Brandon.”
But that doesn’t mean Benfante doesn’t think his team cannot beat the Royals.
“Personally, I will be upset if we don’t beat them,” Benfante said. “We made the playoffs, now the next step is to win the league.”